Frank Schürch believes it is essential not to give up if something doesn’t work out initially. Every company must adapt itself more often than a decade ago. So, one must try out things, adjust and then succeed. This is particularly important in today’s times, where the globalized market is much more volatile than before. “It is crucial to have a long-term vision, a clear mission statement and strategies which are subject to changes if necessary. We must be able to adapt quickly to new trends and market models. Aristoteles once wrote, ‘ we cannot change the wind, but we can set the sails differently,” says Frank.
The steadfast leader inspires and empowers his team with the same ideology. Frank does not believe in micromanagement. Instead, he pushes, advises, and supports each employee to become an entrepreneur within the institution. He influences the employees to “think big” and not hold back with ideas just because they think they are potentially unrealistic given, e.g., such as financial constraints.“The craziest ideas lead to realistic ones! Further, I motivate employees to develop a holistic and comprehensive approach which means understanding what others do,” explains Frank. “I nourish a strongly transparent and open dialogue culture within the premises.
Each employee must be available for colleagues, including myself, at almost any moment. However, employees can work whenever and wherever they want, as long as deadlines and high-quality work are assured.”
Since 2021 Frank has been working as CEO of energie-cluster.ch, a politically neutral Swiss-wide largest network promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions. A multi-lingual leader with proficiency in speaking German, French, Spanish, Italian, English and Russian, Frank earlier on in his career was a diplomat for Switzerland, working as a Councillor at the Swiss Embassy in Russia, responsible for domestic policy, human rights, and the Georgian Protection Mandate. From 2013 – 2016 he served as Deputy Head of Mission in the Swiss Embassy in Chile. Before, he served as Special Envoy for South Sudan in its’ secession process from Sudan, where he led the creation process of the South Sudanese Central bank and concentrated on mediation programs between local ethnicities, armed groups, and the government. Prior to Mai 2009, he served as a diplomatic attaché within the Swiss Embassy in Mexico. After studying political science, Frank worked for five years in the telecommunication’s industry, when he for the first time became the CEO of a company. Frank is also a certified mediator, moderator and board member of directors.
A Strong Leader
In the early years of his career, Frank for the first time, read the book “Getting to yes” (by Fisher, Ury & Patton). “The book explains how one can understand others’ position and what that implies. I have read this book many times in my career and integrated new knowledge and experience daily in applying the concept,” elucidates Frank. “This allowed me to be a true respondent to the clients’ needs, a mediator and facilitator, while always adapting the institutions’ strategies, sharing the insights with the team and when necessary, build up new competencies within the team.”
As a former ICRC delegate this strategy allowed Frank to free people held as prisoners by armed groups worldwide and assist thousands of people access basic needs during the war. As a diplomat, this allowed him privileged access to the highest-level contacts; thus, things got done. This finally taught Frank how fortunate people are in the industrialized world, particularly in Europe, and how important it is not to take oneself for granted. “One of my leading principles is a saying my grandfather repeated to me many times. As a farmer’s son, my family always sat together on Sundays and my grandfather would pass knowledge at the weekly gathering. He always repeated that “whatever a person possesses on earth is only borrowed for an unknown period”!” says Frank. “This is one of the main reasons why I left diplomacy to make a difference in protecting the world’s natural resources and climate by investing myself in renewable energies, energy efficiency, and the necessary adaptation of human behavior to assure a healthier balance between production and consumption of any goods for the next generations.”
Throughout his career, Frank learned an important thing, “it is crucial that one does what he/she likes to do! That’s the only way to be authentic and successful over a longer period of time!” This mindset has guided the pioneering leader towards great heights.
Building An Organisation
energie-cluster.ch is an organisation founded in 2004 with significant participation of companies, universities, and universities of applied sciences as well as public authorities from the energy and environmental sector. It is now the leading network for a CO2-neutral energy environment throughout Switzerland. It contributes to the implementation of Switzerland’s Energy Strategy 2050 and Switzerland’s commitments under the Paris Agreement and the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Its purpose is to promote innovation in the energy sector along the entire value chain, increase value creation, and create new job opportunities. As a networker, a mediator of ideas and technology, a think tank recognised throughout Switzerland, and an education and knowledge platform, energie-cluster.ch brings together the private and public sectors as well as research, development, and educational institutions.
It strengthens Switzerland as a business location and promotes innovative CO2-neutral products and solutions. Energie-cluster.ch addresses current and future-oriented topics such as digitalization, sector coupling, mobility, energy production, storage, use, and distribution. Six hundred members of numerous companies, the public sector at the federal, cantonal, and municipal levels, and individuals work with energie-cluster.ch. Around 70,000 other institutions, high-level experts, politicians, decision-makers, and individuals now belong to the solid and ever-growing network. The Berne office manages the operational business and a small, effective team. Recently, energie-cluster.ch has gained a strategic partner in central Switzerland to be more present locally throughout Switzerland. Further regional representations and partnerships are currently under evaluation.
As a network, the energie-cluster.ch promotes innovative solutions and products concerning the conversion to and development of CO2-neutral buildings. Energie-cluster.ch provides information through its newsletter, mailings, advertising platforms, the new interactive website, social media and other media, education and training, professional and significant events, trade fairs, and studies. It stands for knowledge transfer and brings companies together to promote comprehensive solutions. By leading innovation groups, energie-cluster.ch creates new knowledge around the challenges and opportunities for a future where buildings are not only energy-efficient and CO2-neutral but also act as effective power plants which Interface with electric grids, E-mobility, etc.
“One of the biggest achievements of the company has been having made a success of energie-cluster.ch through teamwork and in partnership with our members and network. 18 months ago, not everybody believed in it, but it is all about building confidence-based relationship,” says Frank. “Here I must highlight the importance of the network. No digital channel can replace personal networking based on confidence and trust: the part of my work which I most love!”